In a move that could change the way companies and brands market to teens online, Facebook will give teens the option to make their content on the social-networking site public.
Previously, users between the ages of 13 and 17 could only share content with friends or friends of friends. In an announcement on Wednesday, Facebook said it will allow teens to share status updates, images, and other content with a wider audience.
Facebook has long been a tool for corporations and small businesses looking to reach consumers using customized or specialized ads. The change may give more access to businesses seeking the highly coveted teen market.
The decision by the company comes as teens look to other social networks like Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, for sharing information. But the new privacy options might make the social site more appealing to teens.
The changes, which include adding the “follower” option, means teenagers now have the option to share content in the same public manner as adults.
“Teens are among the savviest people using social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard. So, starting today, people aged 13 through 17 will also have the choice to post publicly on Facebook,” the company said in a statement.
While Facebook will now allow teens to post publicly, it's also added steps to protect their privacy. Facebook says teens will receive reminders when they post that their content will be public. Also, for new users between the ages of 13 and 17, the company will change default sharing settings from “friends of friends” to the smaller audience of “friends.”